BUILDING A CUSTOM MESQUITE TABLE

The first step is to drive 60 miles in the old truck in the background of the first picture and pick up the log with the winch and put it on the trailer, bring it home, put it on the swmill  and saw it into   2 1/4" slabs.  This is a Mesquite log about 11 1/2' long and about 20" in diameter.

Once sawn, the wood must be dried.  My solar kiln was in use when I got this log so I started out air-drying it for about a month and then I put it in the solar kiln for another 3 months 

 

When the wood is dry it is time to start building and with mesquite there is a lot of epoxy work to do.  This table needed 4 1/2 gallons of epoxy to fill the cracks and stabilize the pithy areas.  Then it is time to glue the top and then flatten it.  I used a technique called router planing.  Any straight bit will work but the bigger the better--I am using a 2" bit and made 3 passes taking about 1" per cut (1/8" deep.  End result:  38-48" wide, 10' long 1 7/8" thick

 

Once everything was epoxy filled and sanded, it was time to put it together and see if everything fit.  It went together nicely.  And did I say that this thing is heavy.

 

*I logged 112 hours working on this table over a six week time period, not including many hours of help from friends
  99 ½ hours were spent grinding the bark and sapwood off, planing, epoxying, assembling and sanding  the table, 12 ½ hours finishing it

*4 ½ gallons of epoxy were used to fill the cracks and voids and stabilize the punky areas. A quart of thin super glue was also used to solidify the punkiest areas prior to filling with epoxy

*8 coats of Waterlox were applied to all surfaces (approximately a gallon total) These were applied by hand, rubbed in, then wiped off, building the lustrous finish.  After the final coat, the top was hand rubbed with 0000 steel wool, sanded through 1500grit sandpaper and then buffed
(Time-wise, 16 coats were applied because once 8 coats were applied and dry all the parts were turned over the other side was finished with 8 coats.)

Big+log+on+mill+904.JPG

Big+log+on+mill+904.JPG

Log loaded on the mill ready to start sawing

first+cut+906.JPG

first+cut+906.JPG

First cut made--slab of bark removed

2+sides+cut+910.JPG

2+sides+cut+910.JPG

2 inch thick boards for the table top are being removed

Bookmatch+A+911.JPG

Bookmatch+A+911.JPG

The first boards are laid down on the air dry rack to start drying. This is the bookmatched set that will be used on either side of the table top

Air-dry Stack+920.JPG

Air-dry Stack+920.JPG

Once sawn, the wood must be dried. My solar kiln was in use when I got this log so I started out air-drying it for about a month and then I put it in the solar kiln for another 3 months

bases+and+tressel+epoxied160.JPG

bases+and+tressel+epoxied160.JPG

The wood is dry and the cracks and rotten areas are being filled with epoxy with black tint

bottom+of+table+top++epoxied+and+glued+up165.JPG

bottom+of+table+top++epoxied+and+glued+up165.JPG

When the wood is dry it is time to start building and with mesquite there is a lot of epoxy work to do. This table needed 4 1/2 gallons of epoxy to fill the cracks and stabilize the pithy areas.

Router planing table top 195.JPG

Router planing table top 195.JPG

Then it is time to glue the top and then flatten it. I used a technique called router planing. Any straight bit will work but the bigger the better--I am using a 2" bit and made 3 passes taking about 1" per cut (1/8" deep. End result: 38-48" wide, 10' long 1 7/8" thick

Router planing 197.JPG

Router planing 197.JPG

top 199.JPG

top 199.JPG

The top has been flattened

mesquite+table,+rw263.jpg

mesquite+table,+rw263.jpg

Once everything was epoxy filled and sanded, it was time to put it together and see if everything fit. It went together nicely. And did I say that this thing is heavy.

mesquite+table,+rw260.jpg

mesquite+table,+rw260.jpg

Base pedestal showing wedge mortice and tenon

Mesqauite+Table,+RW271.JPG

Mesqauite+Table,+RW271.JPG

I have just applied the first coat of Waterlox to the bottom of the top.

Mesquite+Table,+RW273.JPG

Mesquite+Table,+RW273.JPG

Looking pretty good--4 more coats and then turn it over and do the top of the top. The yellow color is due to bad lighting/poor photography. After allowing the finish to soak in I have wiped all the excess off at this stage.

Mesquite+Table,+RW261.JPG

Mesquite+Table,+RW261.JPG

This is the bottom of the top

mesquite+table,+rw262.jpg

mesquite+table,+rw262.jpg

Both pedestals and stretcher

Mesquite+Table,+RW209.JPG

Mesquite+Table,+RW209.JPG

The first coat has been applied to the bases and the stretcher. This is a truer color rendition.

Mesquite+Table,+RW210.JPG

Mesquite+Table,+RW210.JPG

mesquite+table,+finishing+top+7.jpg

mesquite+table,+finishing+top+7.jpg

The top from the other end

mesquite+table,+rw274.jpg

mesquite+table,+rw274.jpg

The first coat has been applied to the bases and the stretcher. This is a truer color rendition.

mesquite+table,+finishing+top+5.jpg

mesquite+table,+finishing+top+5.jpg

All parts of the table now have 8 coats of waterlox on them and it is ready to buff

mesquite+table,+finishing+top+8.jpg

mesquite+table,+finishing+top+8.jpg

Close up of the top

mesquite+table,+finishing+wedge+tenon+14.jpg

mesquite+table,+finishing+wedge+tenon+14.jpg

The wedge tenon with pin that will allow the stretcher to be positioned natureal edge ujp or down

mesquite+table,+finishing+bases+16.jpg

mesquite+table,+finishing+bases+16.jpg

The bases with through mortice for the stretcher

mesquite+table,+finishing+stretcher+10.jpg

mesquite+table,+finishing+stretcher+10.jpg

Stretcher with natural edge

mesquite+table+underside_5719.JPG

mesquite+table+underside_5719.JPG

A view from underneath

Hammer+to+drive+in+wedges_5738.JPG

Hammer+to+drive+in+wedges_5738.JPG

Hammer given to client to drive home the wedges

mesquite+table+with+bowls_5724.JPG

mesquite+table+with+bowls_5724.JPG

The table is now finished and delivered. I also turned two mesquite bowls for the client. All this wood was from his tree from his ranch

mesquite+table+with+bowls_5727.JPG

mesquite+table+with+bowls_5727.JPG

The table is now finished and delivered. I also turned two mesquite bowls for the client. All this wood was from his tree from his ranch

mesquite+table+with+bowls_5732.JPG

mesquite+table+with+bowls_5732.JPG

*I logged 112 hours working on this table over a six week time period, not including many hours of help from friends 99 ½ hours were spent grinding the bark and sapwood off, planing, epoxying, assembling and sanding the table, 12 ½ hours finishing it *4 ½ gallons of epoxy were used to fill the cracks and voids and stabilize the punky areas. A quart of thin super glue was also used to solidify the punkiest areas prior to filling with epoxy *8 coats of Waterlox were applied to all surfaces (a

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